Halloween is nearly upon us, so it’s only appropriate that for today’s Indie Showcase I cover a game which pays tribute to the classic Hollywood monster movies of yesteryear. It’s called Blood of the Werewolf and it’s a lovely little nugget of challenging platformer goodness.
The game casts players in the role of Selena, a family woman who also happens to be a werewolf. She explains that the werewolves are a terribly misunderstood lot, persecuted by humanity when in fact they’re just everyday folks trying to live their lives in peace. When her husband is brutally murdered and her child Nikolai is kidnapped, she proves that a mother’s love is infinite by risking life and limb to rescue the last remaining member of her family. The trouble is, when your adversaries are a coalition between Dracula, Dr. Jekyll, Dr. Victor Frankstein and a host of other familiar monsters, you know the odds are firmly stacked against you. The references and tributes to old creature flicks don’t end there: the levels’ title cards invoke the feeling of old silent movies, the music is suitably dramatic, and the story and voice acting delight in hamming things up as much as possible.
The gameplay itself draws from a hodgepodge of sources, perhaps the most obvious being the Castlevania games. If you feel Konami’s classic series has strayed too far from its roots and you long for the days before Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, you’ll definitely enjoy this. It’s the same sort of precise platforming and precariously-placed monsters that made the Belmont family’s escapades so enduring to an entire generation of gamers. Subtle references to the Belmonts can even be found in key areas.
The big draw, of course, is the fact that Selena transforms between her human and werewolf personas constantly as the game pans out. Sadly, players don’t have direct control of the transformation, instead being forced into one form or the other depending on the design of a particular level. As a human, Selena is an agile marksman equipped with bows and arrows for ranged shots. She’s able to climb ladders and shoot in all directions, allowing for great freedom of attack and adopting far more defensive strategies.
In her werewolf form, Selena grows larger, stronger and employs double-jumps and melee attacks. It’s in this mode that the game is at its most fun, because come on, who wouldn’t want to play as a snarling, clawing, blood-stained, heart-eating werewolf? Though this werewolf form is considerably more powerful, it doesn’t make the game any easier; fighting enemies up close is more dangerous, while some of the toughest platforming sections can only be tackled when you’re covered in fur.
The difficulty I keep alluding to isn’t hyperbole. It’s certainly not up there with, say, Super Meat Boy, but each level is still nonetheless a gauntlet of acrobatics, timing and dispatching annoying enemies as quickly as possible. The frustration level is amplified by the fact that Selena suffers from significant knockback when hit, making crossing chasms even more dangerous. Still, the experience never feels cheap or unfair, and it evokes a strong sense of accomplishment when you finally beat it. Levels are sprawling and fun to explore, rewarding players who take the time to find their secrets and allowing them to accrue ever-essential upgrades.
You can procure a copy via Steam. As of this writing it’s selling for a measly $1.99, so if you fancy some tough platforming action, there’s no reason not to get it. Move your peepers to the trailer below to catch a glimpse of what you’ll be getting yourself into.